CUMBERLAND – Winning another Northern Division title would be nice, but that’s not the No. 1 priority for head coach Tom Kenwood and his Cumberland High squad this fall.
With a talented team with plenty of depth, the Clippers are hoping to place among the top six at the state meet in early November and earn a ticket to the New England Championship. The last time that’s been done was the 2005-06 season when the Cumberland placed third behind team champion Bishop Hendricken.
“I thinking we should definitely be top six. I think that’s been a goal set the last few years. We’ve come close. We just haven’t made it,” Kenwood said. “This is probably one of the best teams that I have had in the last six or seven years.”
Minus one of its top runners, unbeaten Cumberland (6-0) proved on Monday it may have what it takes to accomplish its season-ending goal. Junior Trevor Crawley claimed individual honors and a swarm of his teammates filled several of the top finishing spots behind him as Cumberland defeated a very-strong Mount St. Charles (5-1) squad, 26-31, at the Monastery. The Clippers easily swept by Ponaganset and Woonsocket in the quad-meet.
After seeing the results of the Mounties’ close 26-31 win over Smithfield a week earlier, a race won by MSC standout Patrick Butler, Kenwood knew his runners would have to at least garner two of the first three placements to put some pressure on their rivals.
“I figured we had to at least get second and third,” he said. “I knew it would be hard to get Pat Butler, because he is very good. We were looking to put the rest of our guys in before their fifth, and that happened.”
Crawley did manage to put himself ahead of Butler, overtaking the Mount senior just past the two-mile mark to win with a course-record time of 16 minutes, 30 seconds for the five-kilometer distance. His time erased the two-year old mark set by North Providence graduate Alex Gallo.
Butler held on for second with a 16:43 clocking and Cumberland senior Matt Sutcliffe was third at 16:59. The remaining scoring runners for the Clippers, who had eight of the first 11 placements at two miles, was Kevin Seaver (sixth, 17:38), Rich Church (eighth, 18:09) and Sean Seaver (tenth, 18:25).
The Mounties’ Elijah Touisgnant (17:19) and Andrew Knueven (17:27) were fourth and fifth, respectively. David Jutras of Ponaganset was seventh overall with a 17:50 clocking.
In winning the race, Crawley stayed comfortably behind Butler and the front-running Sutcliffe after the first mile, passed in 5:13. Butler overtook the lead by two miles (10:52) with Crawley trailing by only a few strides.
It was shortly after that point that the Clippers’ talented harrier took control.
“We were taking it kind of easy so I knew I had something left,” Crawley said. “I just tried to make a move to see if (Butler) was tired and it worked.”
The Clippers won the meet despite the absence of senior Tom Fownes. Fownes, who Kenwood feels is his No. 3 runner, strained his hip flexor a few weeks ago and has not run a competitive race since placing fourth at the Cumberlandfest 5K in late August, where he ran a solid time of 17:04.
“He has been running, but nothing fast,” Kenwood said.” He’s going to try and give it a try this Saturday at the Ocean State [Invitational].”
The Cumberland girls also kept their record unblemished at 6-0 in the Northern Division with a sweep of the Mounties, Villa Novans and Chieftains. Ponaganset junior Casey McGrath easily took the individual title with a time of 20:51. The Mounties’ Brittany Sarza was a distant second at 21:42 with teammate Lauren Deguire right behind in third with a 21:43 clocking.
The Clippers had eight of the next nine finishers to beat their closest rival, Mount St. Charles, 25-36. Leading the way for the Blue and White was Courtney Bricault, who was fourth in 21:50.
Cumberland head coach Joyce Bonner figured her team’s top competition would come from the Mounties.
“The girls went to camp with some of the Mount girls and we were aware of a couple of them that were very good,” she said. “We knew they had large numbers…We took it serious. Most of the girls went out the first mile and then raced the next two. That’s basically what they did. This is our first time at our home course so we had a little bit of an advantage. They ran well. I had a couple of runners that were injured. All and all, they ran very well.”
Rounding out the scoring for the Clippers was Esther Kwara (fifth, 21:55), Laura Sullivan (seventh, 22:17), Hannah Tavares (eighth, 22:34) and Kerry Connolly (tenth, 22:52).
Cumberland will endure its toughest test next Tuesday when it faces equally-unbeaten Burrillville at their middle school complex.
“We got numbers. They don’t have numbers,” Bonner said. “They have quality and we have quality. It’s going to be a real grueling race against Burrillville next week.”
3.1 miles at the Monastery
Cumberland 26, Mount St. Charles 31
Cumberland 15, Woonsocket 50
Cumberland 21, Ponaganset 42
Mount St. Charles 15, Woonsocket 48
Mount St. Charles 19, Ponaganset 36
Ponaganset 16, Woonsocket 43
Top 15 finishers
1. Trevor Crawley, C, 16:30
2. Patrick Butler, MSC, 16:43
3. Matt Sutcliffe, C, 16:59
4. Elijah Tousignant, MSC, 17:19
5. Andrew Knueven, MSC, 17:27
6. Kevin Seaver, C, 17:38
7. David Jutras, P, 17:50
8. Rich Church, C, 18:09
9. Matt Alexander, MSC, 18:22
10. Sean Seaver, C, 18:25
11. Matt Smith, C, 18:26
12. Alex Southiere, C, 18:29
13. Nathan Colburn, P, 18:55
14. Peter Swan, P, 18:56
15. Abdullah Raba, C, 19:11
Cumberland 25, Mount St. Charles 36
Cumberland 16, Woonsocket 47
Cumberland 23, Ponaganset 38
Ponaganset 28, Mount St. Charles 29
Ponaganset 20, Woonsocket 35
Top 15 finishers
1. Casey McGrath, P, 20:51
2. Brittany Sarza, MSC, 21:42
3. Lauren Deguire, MSC, 21:43
4. Courtney Bricault, C, 21:50
5. Esther Kwara, C, 21:55
6. Fiona Beltram, P, 22:03
7. Laura Sullivan, C, 22:17
8. Hannah Tavares, C, 22:34
9. Kristen Treganowan, W, 22:43
10. Kerry Connolly, C, 22:52
11. Ashley Bricault, C, 23:15
12. Melissa Mardo, C, 23:30
13. Megan Calitri, C, 23:34
14. Cristal Marron, P, 23:37
15. Diana Frenze, P, 23:43